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Take Five With Dan Krimm


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Meet Dan Krimm:
Progressive/contemporary jazz fretless electric bass guitarist and composer. I was most active in the '80s and early '90s leading my own bands and recording two albums (re-released in 2011). I also produced a final concert, recorded and videotaped in 1993, and mastered/released for the first time in 2013. Still play avocationally.

5-string fretless electric bass guitar.

Teachers and/or influences?
Jaco Pastorius set the technical standards, but I have my own personal voice. I did take a couple lessons from John Scofield. I also had classical training on violin through high school.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I've been musical early on, but the decision to try for a career came at the end of college after I had gotten from zero to 60 in about three years. I figured I had enough momentum to make a real go of it.

Your sound and approach to music:
I play an electric instrument, but I don't get into electronics (i.e., signal processing). I have a very analog approach, which is inspired by acoustic/upright bassists as electric bass guitarists. In my last band as a leader, I stretched into lots of chord-playing, and I've always had a melodic approach to soloing. My favorite upright players are Eddie Gomez and Harvey Swartz.

Your teaching approach:
I never really got into teaching much. One thing about electric bass: there are many different ways to play the instrument, and many different kinds of music to play with it. I was self-taught —I learned violin formally, and that taught me how to learn an instrument. I applied what I knew on violin and taught myself on bass.

Your dream band:
Too many to choose from!

Here's just one sample:
Myself on fretless electric bass guitar,
Wayne Shorter on tenor and soprano sax,
John Scofield or Bill Frisell on guitar,
Herbie Hancock or Keith Jarrett on piano,
Airto Moreira playing drum set and percussion.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
I was playing a club date at a social club at an Ivy-league campus. While I was soloing an alumnus was trying to give me his business card to hire us for some other gig. Cognitive dissonance: the guy—who had evidently had a few drinks—apparently liked our music, but had utterly no respect for what we were doing musically!

Favorite venue:
A band I play in had a CD-release gig at Yoshi's in Oakland, CA, and every aspect of the experience was top-shelf and classy. They had a great stage monitor setup so we could all hear each other very well. We were able to concentrate on making music instead of hearing through the sound setup. The house sound was very good too, as were the room acoustics and line of sight. We had a mostly invited audience, so the crowd was great, and it was full enough that most tables had at least one person, but not so crowded as to be claustrophobic. The venue had a good night business-wise, so they were happy. Good vibes all around.

It was one night in Oz, and the next day back in Kansas for my day job.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
I'm just now in the process of releasing a 20-year old recording for the first time. It was a live concert videotaping and it's going to be my favorite because it comes with videos that really show what I'm doing as a player, which is chording and soloing melodically. My approach is to integrate this organically into the ensemble rather than showcasing it as some sort of cartoon spotlight, and so it's very easy to miss it just listening to the audio by itself.

The first jazz album I bought was:
Adventures in Time (Columbia, 1971) a 2-disk compilation of odd-meter tunes by Dave Brubeck.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
A personal voice on my instrument and as a composer.

CDs you are listening to now:
Not listening to much music right now.

Desert Island picks:
Can't pick, too many.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Life support, and yet it manages to endure because the music speaks very deeply to the people it speaks to.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
A merit-based music marketplace where artists can really reach an accurately targeted audience and generate revenue. We're not there yet, even with the breakthrough in exposure potential, which is only half the game. Now comes the revenue piece.

What is in the near future?
I play avociatonally these days. I'm playing a few duo gigs at Yoshi's SF in the lounge area with a pianist who is a buddy from college.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?
In the past I used to have doubts as to whether I was worthy of being on stage. I'm past that now.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
"Tehillim (Part IV, Hallelujah)" by Steve Reich.

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
Changes according to mood and what's in my head. Sometimes just a bass groove or some earworm picked up from the morning news on the radio. Some of those earworms are deadly! God help me.

By Day:
Public policy researcher at a nonpartisan/independent think tank.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
Zombie. I am a jazz musician. Whether I am making a living at it or not, whether I am doing it frequently or not.

My college major was Philosophy of Science, so perhaps I would be a philosopher, but that sounds so arrogant. We're all philosophers of a sort, in our own ways.

My goal is to be as authentically human as possible. So if I weren't a jazz musician I'd be simply a human being.

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